Editor’s Note: There are two Twinks 4 Trump projects, the first, a parody created by Cody Permenter, which can be found here and here, and the second, a photo project by Lucian B. Wintrich, who genuinely endorses Donald Trump for President. The following letter is addressed to Wintrich.
In response to your recent piece “Twinks4Trump Creator: 5 Things the Media Gets Wrong About Gay Conservatives,” I would like to point out five things you have gotten wrong about yourself.
1. You think you are awesome because being gay does not, as you say, define the entirety of your existence. This does not make you awesome. It makes you privileged. You are sitting on a whole big heap of privilege, which you appear to ignore.
I see on the internet that you went to Bard College. I teach at another liberal arts college, and I know Bard, and I know it is a great school. I am pretty sure they taught you about privilege there. You present as a white male (though I admittedly don’t know how you identify). You had enough privilege to get yourself to, and through, Bard. You have enough privilege to get yourself published in the Advocate. From your photo at the bottom of the article, I deduce that you have enough privilege to own a necktie and some kickin’ eyeglasses. You also have a slick website, which includes rotating banner photos depicting collections of more neckties and of shelves of books, including works of Ayn Rand. All of which indicate you have some privilege.
You know what else you have? Generations of people ― literally, like in the actual literal sense of the word ― generations, who fought for a world where you could write an article like the one you have written… and the many modern-day heroes who continue to fight for it. You most likely don’t have to worry about getting fired from a job because you publicly self-identify as gay. You most likely don’t have to worry about getting kicked out of wherever you live. You most likely don’t have to worry about getting beat up on the street because, if you are indeed a “business strategist,” you probably live in a big enough city with enough business that it has to have laws that tolerate gay people.
But you know what? The conservative movement you are publicly supporting thinks you should worry about those things. Practically speaking, the party of conservatives is the Republican party. Have you read its national platform? It is full of gems like “Our laws and government regulations should recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman and should actively promote married family life as the basis of a stable and prosperous society.” This means that the party not only believes that you don’t have a right to get married, but that if you are or ever choose to be partnered, your employer should legally be able to fire you. Your landlord should legally be able to kick you out. And if you get beat up walking down the street holding hands with your partner, it shouldn’t be considered a hate crime. This is just a single example from the national platform. The multitude of state and local laws and ordinances that have codified discrimination against gay people are even richer troves of hate.
I’m married ― super duper gay married ― and have a kid. You know what the conservative movement believes? It believes my kid should be taken away from me. So let me tell you, personally, I do not appreciate you supporting a movement that wants to break up my family. Whether or not YOU believe or want that is irrelevant. This is now what you stand for, through your affiliation. Congratulations.
2. You think you are a conservative because you got to study with Walter Russell Mead at a good college. I have a different theory.
I have ALSO gone to college. A good college! I took chemistry from a Nobel Prize winner, but oddly, this does not make me a chemist. Or a Nobel Prize winner.
Also, you insist your conservatism is not due to copycatting your parents, because your parents are liberals. Yay! That makes you this generation’s Alex P. Keaton. You probably won’t get that joke because you were born in the 90’s.
But I will ask you ― and you can work it out in therapy, or not, per your choosing ― is it possible you are a conservative PRECISELY because your parents are liberals? Read this intriguing article from the Atlantic, based on peer-reviewed research. This certainly doesn’t offer a hard-and-fast explanation of your life, but it’s something to think about.
3. You think that because you don’t consider yourself a bigot, you are not a bigot.
I will repeat what I said in #1 above. You affiliate yourself with a movement whose policies attempt to encode and enact bigotry. Regardless of your self image, and regardless of how you classify your interpersonal interactions with others, this does make you, technically speaking, a bigot. At a massive, systemic level. Sorry to break the news to you.
4. You think it matters whether or not you are fun. Let me be clear: no one cares.
Fun is overrated. Being VIEWED as fun is overrated. I only care that you stand for breaking up my family. I don’t think that is very fun, actually. My family is easily the most important thing in the world to me. Maybe you should spend less time trying to be fun and spend more time reading the Republican platform, and state and local laws.
5. You think that telling yourself “there are many gay conservatives,” excuses your bad behavior. I have no idea how many gay conservatives there are. Does it matter? What matters is what the movement stands for.
Is this about wanting to hang out with gay dudes? Trust me, I am sympathetic to the idea of wanting to hang out with gay dudes. We all like community. But there are many kinds of communities. A bunch of self-hating gay people, feeling persecuted, plotting about how to take away rights from the rest of us ― this is not a productive community.
Also, you miss the main point about your anecdote ― YOUR OWN GODDAMN ANECDOTE ― about gay guys at your Wake Up! party (and I resent you for forcing me to use an exclamation mark in the middle of a sentence). You report that you asked some guys at the party if they were gay. In response, two of them “slowly and uneasily said they were gay.” Go back and re-read #1 above yet again. Why did the guys at your party feel uneasy? Still don’t get the irony here? Go back and re-read #1 AGAIN until you do.
Let me end with a genuine offer: sincerely, I invite you to get in touch, talk with me, and visit my family. Meet my daughter. Hear our life stories. Hear the impact that conservative policies have already had, and could have, on our lives. I promise that if you’ll listen to me, I’ll listen to you.